This article from PCAuthority (which I found on Digg) really caught my attention because they are saying that Microsoft Office for Linux is inevitable. They are using the fact that it has been done for Apple so it will be done for Linux. Some of the points they make are valid but they also leave out some important information.
First, Linux users can already use Microsoft Office 2003, XP, 2000, and 97 by installing CodeWeavers CrossOver Office. Sure it costs $40 to buy but if you want to run Microsoft Office bad enough you will fork over the money.
If you look at that from Microsoft’s standpoint why would they take the time to develop a Linux-compatible version of Office when they are already making money from schools, businesses, and people purchasing Microsoft Office to run with CrossOver? They are making money and they don’t have to provide support for it…the best of both worlds.
Lastly, people that use Linux are looking for free open-source software to run. Sure they may dish out some cash every now and then for something that is really amazing like CrossOver Office but that is a rare situation for the average Linux user. OpenOffice.org gives Linux users everything that they want: free, open-source, and it can handle Microsoft Office documents. I don’t know any of my friends that use Linux who would give up OpenOffice.org!
So will Microsoft really release Office for Linux? I have a very hard time believing that they will. The development costs would be high and the new support staff they would have to hire and train also wouldn’t come very cheap. Who knows though…Microsoft always has something up their sleeve.